Is Painting Brick Bad?

Is Painting Brick Bad?

While many buildings in Calgary are finished with wood, vinyl, or stucco, you can still see quite a bit of brickwork around the city – not only exterior brick walls and siding, but brick fireplaces and sills as well. And, since bricks tend to vary in colour when they are made due to the composition of the material, many people hire professional painters to come in and paint them. Whether whitewashing fireplace bricks in your living room or painting exterior bricks, doing it properly – and with the right products – is essential to creating a long-lasting paint job.

While it’s not bad or uncommon to paint them, failing to prep them well will soon get you acquainted with the negatives of painting bricks. Regular paint can trap moisture inside the porous material, leading to cracking and flaking of the mortar or joints as temperature fluctuates. In worse cases, it can cause the paint to bubble up and flake off, ruining the beautiful paint job you put on it. Always use brick paint or masonry paint, which allows vapours to permeate through and mitigates the trapped water problem. Also make sure you prime the surface well, to ensure adhesion across it – crumbly surfaces like bricks are notoriously difficult for paint to stick to, so cover all your bases.

Whether you hire a painter, a painting company, or some other paint service to do the job, or you decide to do it yourself, preparation is key. Maybe you just want a gleaming white painted brick fireplace, or to accent a short wall somewhere – either way, you always start by cleaning it! When doing exterior painting, you can use a pressure washer to blast away dirt, grime, and other debris, but with interior painting, you may have to spend some time using rags, small brushes, and good ol’ elbow grease to clean out the grooves. Make sure to patch up any cracks with caulking as well.

Once it’s clean, and given enough time to dry, use a masonry bonding primer to give the final paint coats something to stick to. This will help fill the holes, harden the surface, and prevent the flaking and cracking we mentioned earlier. If you’re doing a big exterior section, you can find primers that are roll-on or sprayable (spraying is recommended, as it goes much faster and provides more thorough coverage), but this generally isn’t advised indoors unless you have the equipment and the time to cover all surrounding areas with plastic and seal it well to avoid overspray.

The same method goes for the painting: spray if you can, use a long-nap roller sleeve (25 mm) if not. The long fibres will help the paint get into all the small crevices, and hold more paint per roll, resulting in less time wasted going over the same areas repeatedly. Try to use a brush as little as possible, as it’s extremely difficult to get decent coverage, and usually the brush ends up with bent bristles and lots of half-dried paint worked into it. Trust the painters – if you can spray paint on bricks, do it!

If you need to update a faded old brick wall, rejuvenate an aging fireplace, or simply spruce up the first area of your house that visitors see when they pull up, why not hire an award-winning paint company to help you out? After all, not everyone knows how to paint a house, or even bricks – but that’s what The Urban Painter is here for! We have the expertise, the equipment, and the energy to get your home painting projects done in a timely and quality manner, and we’d love to show you our work! With our free estimates and colour consultations, it’s now easier than ever to plan a refreshing change to your home’s character. Call us at 403-774-1424, or email us at info@theurbanpainter.com to find out more today!

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